Nevada Judge Dave Gamble has issued a curious sentence to a drug defendant. Matthew Palazzolo, 25, was ordered to write a report on the “nonsensical character” of medical marijuana laws and how pot is a gateway drug. In my view it is an improper sentence that should result in not just a reversal but a review of Gamble’s conduct.
Palazzolo works in a California law firm and was arrested in a casino parking lot in February after trying to sell a quarter pound of marijuana to an informant. While people have fought for the right to use medical marijuana, Palazzolo abused the process (and endangered its continuation) by securing a medical marijuana card based on his proven back pain. He admits that he got the card to sell pot — making him not just remarkably dishonest but callous.
However, that does not give a judge the right to order defendants to write reports supporting the judge’s political views. Gamble stated “[i]f this isn’t testimony to the absolute asininity of medical marijuana laws in California and the path Nevada is choosing. Here’s a young man with a bachelor’s degree and a rosy future and now is a potential felon. It’s just the height of stupidity.”
I have previously written (and here) about the increasing abuse meted out by judges using such novel sentencing. Here the judge is ordering a defendant to write a report supporting his opposition to a law and a general policy on medical marijuana. It not only violates the defendant’s constitutional rights but basic principles of judicial ethics.
Source: Courier Mail